This apple pie with spiced wholemeal pastry is a reminder of my childhood and inspired by my mum's cooking. Fruit pies are such a comfort food and this healthier one is low in sugar and makes a delicious family friendly dessert.
When I first posted this apple pie recipe I was taking part in a challenge to give a healthy twist to a sweet or savoury pie. Well, to me pies are real comfort food and remind me of growing up as my mum used to make lots of pies both sweet and savoury.
We would have meat pies and chicken pies followed by rhubarb, plum or apple pies. My mum makes very good pies and luckily for her, my dad loves his pies. Or should I say her pies.
Unfortunately my husband is not a big fan of pastry so I rarely actually make a pie myself. I'm more likely to get my pie fix when I'm out and about, and of course bought pies are never as good as homemade ones. And rarely even remotely healthy. And the pastry is definitely not as good! I've never had this kind of crumbly wholemeal pastry in a bought pie.
So, starved of homemade pies for a long long time, I was pleased to have a real reason to actually make one for this challenge. Because I so rarely make pies, what could be more appropriate than having a go at recreating my mum's homemade apple pie with wholemeal pastry?
Reasons to use wholemeal pastry for apple pie
I love homemade wholemeal pastry for two main reasons:
- It is light and crumbly and not as heavy as pastry made from plain white flour. It just melts in your mouth.
- It gives the pastry a delicous nutty flavour.
- It's healthier than plain white flour. Wholemeal pastry contains more nutrients, fibre and protein than white flour.
Although I love homemade pastry made with wholemeal flour, it is a little more difficult to work with as the pastry does tend to crumble easily. I do think it's worth it for the deliciously nutty taste and the crumbliness it gives the pie though.
What makes this a healthier apple pie?
So, the wholemeal pastry for a start definitely makes this a healthier pie.
It's also the kind of pie without a pastry bottom, which cuts down on the amount of pastry and means there's more fruit. There is a layer of fruit on the bottom and then a pastry topping. The fruit isn't encased in pastry. That makes it much easier and also no need to worry about the dreaded bake-off soggy bottom!
Finally the fruit. As I said, there is more fruit and less pastry in this pie which makes it healthier. Plus, I used sweet apples so didn't need to add any sugar to sweeten them. Although I did add a squeeze of agave nectar for just a little extra sweetness and taste. This is totally up to you.
Ingredients for apple pie with spiced wholemeal pastry
To make this healthier apple pie you'll need:
- Apples - I use sweet apples as that means there is often no need to add extra sugar.
- Agave nectar - I add a little of this if the apples are not quite sweet enough. You can replace it with honey, maple syrup or sugar if necessary.
- Plain wholemeal flour
- Butter - You can replace this with a different baking spread, especially if you want to make a vegan pie.
- Mixed spice - If you don't have mixed spice you can use a little cinnamon instead.
- Cold water - This is to bring the pastry together. Cold water will work better than room temperature water.
How to make apple pie
This apple pie is very easy to make. Peel, core and dice the apples and cook them in a saucepan with a little water until they turn soft.
Grease a pie dish and put the stewed apples in the bottom when they are cooked.
You can make the pastry while the apple is stewing.
How to make the spiced wholemeal pastry
The spiced wholemeal pastry is also pretty easy to make. You can make it by hand or using a food processor. First, stir the mixed spiced into the flour. If you make it by hand, cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour using your fingertips.
If you are using a food processor, put the cubes of butter, flour and mixed spice into the food processor and blitz until it looks to be the consistency of breadcrumbs.
At this point add about 2 tablespoons of water to the flour and bring it together with your hands to form a ball of dough. Don't work it too much. Stop as soon as a dough has formed.
Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface and rolling pin and roll out the pastry. Put it on top of the pie, making a few slits in the top and then bake.
Can you adapt this apple pie recipe?
Yes of course! If you are not sure about whether your family will like a pie crust made with just wholemeal flour, you can substitute some of it with plain white flour. As they get more used to it, start adding a higher proportion.
The wholemeal pastry crust also has some mixed spice in to give it a subtle spiced flavour. If you're not sure about this then you can miss it out. Or if you want a stronger flavoured spiced apple pie then add some to the apple as well as the pastry.
If you want to make a pie with a different fruit instead of apple, go ahead. Just taste the fruit to decide whether and how much of any sweetener you want to add.
When I first made this pie I was very into using agave nectar in everything. However, feel free to replace it with honey, maple syrup or a little sugar if that's more convenient. You may not even need anything to sweeten the fruit.
What to serve with apple pie
As you can see, I ate this pie with ice cream. Why recreate your mum's pie and then not serve it the way she would have done? It had to be served warm with vanilla ice cream. Nothing else would have done. For me!
However, for anyone else, this apple pie is great served with cream, custard or even yogurt.
Storing and reheating
Once made, you can keep this apple pie for at least 3 days in the fridge.
I like to reheat it either in the oven or microwave before serving.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze it for at least three months. I think it's best to freeze before baking. Just put the whole pie in a freezer bag. Defrost in the fridge overnight and then bake before serving.
More delicious desserts
Why not try one of these recipes:
Apple Pie with Spiced Wholemeal Pastry
- 4 sweet apples peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 tbsp agave nectar optional
Ingredients for the Pastry
- 200 g wholemeal flour
- 100 g butter
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- a little cold water
- Put the apples in a saucepan with a little water and simmer until the apples are soft but still hold their shape. Don't let them boil dry. Add a splash of water if it looks like the pan might get too dry. Add a little agave nectar if they are not sweet enough.
- Put the apples in the bottom of a greased pie dish.
- Make the pastry by putting the flour, mixed spice and butter in a food processor and blending until it looks like breadcrumbs. Alternatively rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips.
- Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and add a couple of tablespoons of cold water from the fridge. Bring the mixture together with your hands to form a ball of pastry.
- Wrap the pastry in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Put a little flour on the work surface and roll the pastry out until it's the right size and shape to cover the pie. The pastry will be very crumbly and difficult to work with without it breaking up but this is also what gives it its light crumbly texture after it's cooked.
- Make a couple of cuts on top of the pie so the steam can escape and then bake the pie in the oven at 180°C for about 20-25 minutes.
- Let the pie cool for about 15 minutes before serving with ice cream. Or yogurt.
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Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make this apple pie with spiced wholemeal pastry or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.